2005 through the end of this year's primary season, I
worked on Sean Patrick Maloney's unsuccessful
campaign to win the Democratic nomination for New York
attorney general. I started as an intern and finished
as a political assistant for LGBT outreach in New York
I first met Sean
when he came to speak at an NYU College Democrats
meeting. He left a strong impression on me--he was
smart, passionate, and genuine. The fact that he is
gay made this all the more impressive to me.
Getting to know
Sean turned out to be the most rewarding part of the
campaign. During the early months before the election, we
were working out of a one-room storefront in the West
Village. Sean was always accessible and he became an
amazing mentor to me. As the months progressed the
staff grew, headquarters moved uptown, and schedules
became full. Still, Sean found time to talk.
One evening Sean
and I were the only ones in the office--I was working
on data entry, and he was drafting a letter for a
mailer. After a while we got into a conversation. I
asked him about his job as a senior aide in the
Clinton White House. He talked to me like a contemporary
rather than an intern.
When I was
growing up gay in rural North Carolina, role models were
hard to come by. As I slowly came out of the closet, I
worried that I might be limiting my future with every
person I told.
challenged that mind-set. He is a living example that the
opportunities I was always told weren't available to
gay men actually are. Sean has a career and a
family--a partner of 13 years and three amazing
kids. It didn't matter whether or not he won the
election; his example let me see that my sexual
orientation doesn't limit anything.
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